Guest Author: Friends of India Founder on Controversy On Honoring an Unknown
As one of the founders of the Friends of India, and the one who in 1984 actually gave this name to the first organization of Indians and their friends in the state of Nevada, it is incumbent upon me to say a few words.
The sole purpose is to calm down this controversy and bring back harmony in the community before the festive days of Eid, Krishna Janamashtami and independence celebration.
At the outset, I must say that the editorial is well-written and sets down broad guidelines for honoring a member(s) of Indian community once a year or two. It is a sign of a mature organization to honor its pioneers and various leaders – including some mavericks and entrepreneurs who have also contributed to the local Indian community at large.
I do laud the officers of the Friends of India for thinking of honoring a community member. However, for that, a nomination process needs to be spelled out, advertised, or a call for nominations be sent out right – say, after Holi festival. That should give the Executive Committee a month to deliberate and select a person for the honor.
Knowing the corporate CEOs have thick skins, I still feel kind of ‘sorry’ for Rajesh Shrotriya who is hardly settled down in Las Vegas and is already drawn into this controversy. It reminds me of a time in 1974, when every Indian knew every other. There were hardly 20 of them, and we met at the khana (eating and drinking binge) at each other’s homes every weekend. By the way, there was then not even a singly Indian physician, but two were UNLV professors. The community growing slowly through the mid 1980s, almost every new Indian had visited our home. This is nostalgic piece of community history.
Yes, I had qualms about $10 charge too, but more for not distinguishing between the members and non-members. However, it is OK as some of the money is being sent to a flood relief fund in India. Also, this16th floor site of this event in World Trade Center may be costing more than renting space in a public park.
My hope is that public outcry over this year’s selection of the guest of honor will make future selections open and least controversial. I believe in strengthening Indian organizations and trust its elected officers till their terms are over. We better learn to live with our good and bad choices. Enough said, let us now move on together.
Satish C. Bhatnagar (1974)
Professor of Mathematics (UNLV) and
Author of five non-fiction books in five genres (on Trafford and Amazon)
Aug 06, 2013